Simple Things You Can Do to Help Teachers

BlogHer Original Post
Dry-erase markers

It all started with a PR pitch for a sweepstakes that would benefit teachers:

Avery Dennison is celebrating “all that teachers do” by holding a national sweepstakes in their honor—In the sweepstakes, the teachers are able to win $500 in Avery Dennison products to help cut the cost of school supplies that they are buying themselves each year (please see statistics below that show teachers on average spend $500 per year of their own money on supplies for their students/classrooms) and $500 worth of other types of products for their own use.

As a former teacher, the statistic sounds fairly accurate. I worked at a school where we had money for supplies, but I still ended up having a portion of my books and homegoods migrate into our classroom. A friend who works for an inner city school that doesn't have enough money for supplies is constantly asking us to chip in a small amount in order to make sure the kids have markers and paper.

The reality is that as back-to-school preparation heats up, so do the ways community members can support their teachers so that the burden doesn't fall on a single person to ensure that students have what they need in order to learn. In addition to Avery, there are plenty of other programs out there for teachers to enter or for community members to participate.

  • Box Tops for Education: an enormous program that has given over $300 million to participating schools since it began. Buying products with the BTfE label and cutting out the box top as proof gives back money to your school.
  • Donors Choose: a year-round non-profit connecting donors with specific projects/needs within schools. Peruse the listings and find one that you can support.
  • Expo Markers: donating markers to school when you buy markers for yourself and "like" them on Facebook.
  • Loft: teachers need clothes too. Ann Taylor Loft is having a sweepstakes once a month and giving away clothes and Scholastic books.
  • Food Stores: most food stores participate in a give-back program that gives a portion of your purchase to a local school. You can designate the receiver of your points.
  • Bookstores: a lot of bookstores including Barnes and Noble and Borders have special days for huge teacher discounts. Contact a nearby store to get the next set of dates. In addition, they offer educator cards that give a discount on materials purchased for the classroom.

What other programs exist that help teachers stock their classroom and show teacher appreciation?

Melissa writes Stirrup Queens and Lost and Found. Her book is Navigating the Land of If.

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